An ostomy (pronounced os-tuh-mee) is a surgical procedure which diverts urinary or bowel output through a surgically created opening, called a stoma, located on the abdomen. Some of the reasons to have an ostomy procedure include bladder or colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, familial polyposis, and diverticulitis. An ostomy can be temporary or permanent. In the United States, there is an estimated 120,000 ostomy procedures performed every year, with an estimated 800,000 to 1 million people with ostomies in the US. This means 1 out of 400 people has an ostomy.
In Mohave County, resources to assist persons with ostomies, known as ostomates, have been limited. Yet, there is a unique resource available in the Colorado River Ostomy Chapter (CROC) of United Ostomy Association of America (UOAA). This Chapter is located in Bullhead City where it is the only official UOAA support group in the county as well as the Tristate area. CROC draws ostomates from Kingman and Lake Havasu to its meetings routinely with Winter visitors attending as well.
The Chapter meets every second Monday from 1-3 pm in building at Joshua Springs Senior Living’s Media Room. Persons with ostomies, those who anticipate needing ostomy surgery, those with continent diversions, support persons of ostomates/diversions, those who have had ostomies are welcome to attend, and medical professionals interested in ostomy care. The group creates opportunities to discuss issues, review ostomy products, and provides education on various ostomy topics. Jim Morris is the local UOAA President with the monthly meetings co-facilitated by Desiree Morgan RN and Stephanie Short RN, both of whom are certified in Ostomy care.
by Stephanie Short, RN OMS